Le Pen's right-hand man Florian Philippot quits France's National Front

Frederick Owens
September 22, 2017

National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen's top aide Florian Philippot resigned Thursday after an internal feud over the party's direction moving forward. "Listen, I don't have a desire to be ridiculed", he told France 2 TV. "Yes, of course, I am quitting the National Front", he told local media.

Mrs Le Pen, who pledged after losing the presidential race to Emmanuel Macron to be the "main voice of opposition" against the new centrist government, has been overshadowed of late by far-left rebel and former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose working-class rhetoric and unabashed criticism of the young president have widened his support base.

His stock in the party was also damaged by his hardline stance against the euro currency, a position which many in the National Front blame for Le Pen's loss to Macron and for the party's third-place finish in June's parliamentary elections.

Florian Philippot, vice-president of the anti-immigrant and euro-hostile party, used an early morning appearance on French television to announce a departure that had looked increasingly inevitable as tensions with Le Pen hit boiling point.

"One should stop trying to bury the National Front", she told LCP television.

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"I watched the party struggle to refound itself..." Le Pen and Philippot never had a direct meeting about their differences, both say. He said the party is going backwards in a "terrifying" way.

Mélenchon added: "It's a party that counts for nothing". No one in the National Front forgets the 1998 departure of Bruno Megret, the right-hand man of Jean-Marie Le Pen, who took numerous officials with him. Sophie Montel, a close ally of Philippot and vice president of his association, also left the party Thursday, days after being ousted from her role as a regional head of the National Front.

The director of campaign of Marine Le Pen and the mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, the September 11, 2016.

"There will be those who are disappointed because in a divorce like that ... there always are", Luis Aliot, another vice president and Le Pen's companion, said on BFM-TV.

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